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Overview of the Griftlands. Card roguelike close to ideal


The Griftlands. Card roguelike: Before getting to know the Griftlands, I would hardly be surprised at the card roguelike. Games in the genre are not that few, and if the authors of this were not Klei Entertainment, then, most likely, I would not have paid attention to the project. But indie developers from Canada, authors of Don't StarveMark of the Ninja, and Invisible, Inc., on successful experiments with gameplay, the dog was eaten, so from the Griftlands, one should expect at least a couple of surprises.
The formula of the game is intriguing: take a roguelike, add a card battle with role-playing and a reputation system, and in each race focus on dialogue and plot. Like Loop Hero, the resulting Frankenstein monster is hard to pin down to any particular genre. And therefore, it is doubly interesting to understand what and how it works here.

A long time ago in a distant ... and Hesh knows where

The Griftlands. Card roguelike: Griftlands is set on the fictional planet Hawaria, where humanity and other alien races seem to be going through hard times. Technology is in decline, and the remnants of past progress are traded by the clan of Electrobarons, now and then biting for power with the religious cult of the followers of Hesh - a huge creature, according to legend, living in the local ocean. Both those and others do not hesitate to resort to the use of slave labor. Slaves and the proletariat, in turn, categorically disagree with this state of affairs and are already preparing to arrange Red October for the damned capitalists. In all this, with a sluggish hand, the Admiralty is trying to restore order - representatives of the galactic empire, to whose voice they do not really listen, and therefore it is forced to make compromises with the local kings.
The player, thrown into the thick of these events and relationships, will have to take turns deciding the fate of three griefers - adventurers. Each of them has its own storyline campaign with a unique setting, motives, and opposing sides. The bounty hunter Sal wants to take revenge on the crime boss Kashio, who sold her into slavery; Rook - a former military man with a cunning mustache and a crippled leg - collects intelligence about a workers uprising impending in the swamps; and the eternally young and eternally drunken dunce-humanoid Smith, with the help of his immeasurable charm, is trying to recover the stolen inheritance, participating in the palace intrigues of the noblest houses of Hawaria.
The developers did not artificially drag out the timing of each of the campaigns, adding dozens of monotonous side effects: each storyline will take an average of four hours. However, at the same time, they are all quite replayable and even non-linear in a sense. During the passage, you can join both one opposing side and the other. Globally, this will not change the campaign, but the path to the finale and changes in relations with the characters can throw surprises. For example, in the conflict between the bandits and the Admiralty, you chose the side of the former and made several sorties against the government, but on the way back you came across a patrol of soldiers demanding a bribe. It can be difficult to convince them to let you go in peace because in the previous raid you accidentally killed a friend of one of the patrolmen. And if you helped local clerics to reach the sanctuary,
Most importantly, such elements are not clearly scripted and predictable plot bits, but random events inherent in the genre. Therefore, every time you start a new campaign, you never know for sure what lies ahead, even if you repeat the previous path to within a step.

Cards, money, RPG

The Griftlands. Card roguelike: There are two ways to survive and move through the plot in Hawaria - violence, and negotiations. Both are based on the card mechanics of combat: using attacking and auxiliary cards, you need to bring the enemy's health bar (in battle) or the bar of decisiveness (in negotiations) to zero. As the game progresses, cards gain experience. and they can be pumped: for example, an improved version of one of the attacking cards can deal serious damage but will be destroyed after the first use.
In Griftlands, you don't have to shake too much over the deck. On the contrary, a significant part of powerful cards disappear after use, and there is no point in keeping them to the last - new cards come to the deck after each battle, but the game does not indulge in spare lives. The journey may end after the first mistake, and then, according to the laws of the genre, you will lose all progress, and the campaign will have to start over. Health is not enough, the character is healed for free only at the end of each day, and what was spent in battle is very difficult to recover - for this, you need to either go to the bar and replenish stocks of healers, or look at the locations accidentally thrown by the game, like meadows for meditation. But the problem is that on the way there you don't know if you will get to the place alive or if you will stumble upon, say, robbers. Therefore, in each battle you think which is more expensive.
Another way to live longer is to solve problems through negotiations or bribes. Most skirmishes can be ended peacefully in one way or another, but the reserve of decisiveness - an analog of health for negotiations - is small, and in conversation, unlike in a fight, other members of the group have minimal influence on the outcome of the conviction. The money given out for quests is very small, and every time you wonder what will be better: to give the loader a bribe so that he let the hero into the port, or to set aside money for implants that increase the characteristics in battle or in negotiations? Buy one-time powerful cards or enlist the support of a mercenary and clean up the face of the insolent proletarian with him?
Fans of role-playing will also have a place to turn around. The game has a perfectly implemented system of relationships with NPCs: they react to most of your actions and can either be filled with sympathy for the hero or hate him. Moreover, the reaction of the characters to certain actions is far from always possible to predict. Let's say that in the forest more often you were attacked by a longtime ill-wisher, but instead of killing him, you showed mercy to him and let him go. An unlucky avenger will not only not appreciate such generosity, but will also harbor even greater anger, which is why you will receive a random debuff: from completely harmless to extremely nasty, like "your health is reduced by 1 every turn."
 This ambiguity makes you more involved in the gameplay and makes decisions in a balanced manner. For example, when you meet a defenseless merchant on the road, you seriously think: “Is it worth robbing him? Will it come out sideways for me later? " In the conditions of a total shortage of resources, every time a character is tried to be dragged into some murky side scam, the option “I'm not interested in this” does not look so stupid.

Not a roguelike, but a roguelike!

The Griftlands. Card roguelike: The story of each hero is presented in its entirety, from and to, in one playthrough. Therefore, no matter how effectively the random works, there are many repetitive key events and dialogues, and you should not expect new details after each death or victory over the final boss, in the manner of HadesAt first, such a presentation seems incompatible with the replayability for which Griftlands was sharpened - after all, a lot of dialogs will have to be flipped over from time to time - boredom!
But the variability of the gameplay takes its toll, and after the end credits, it invariably pulls to start over. Each playthrough allows you to build completely different builds and not only card ones. Somewhere in a random skirmish, you can get a powerful battle snail or a robot as a companion and pick up cards already for them; in some places, these partners, on occasion, can be sold for meat and spare parts to local flayers, and the funds received can be spent on random implants or cards from the black market, hoping to knock out the jackpot. And on the third race, you can even go to taverns, drink some local hard workers, give them generous gifts and receive pleasant buffs in return. Well, and of course, I want to know what will happen if you build not hostile, but friendly relations with this NPC or a party to the conflict. What bonuses will I receive and how will others react?
In addition, the player will not be left without progress after each death. For each completed task, the griefer receives heroism points: with them, you can buy minor improvements that will stay with the hero forever (even after restarting the campaign) - an increase in health, starting capital, and so on. And for killing bosses, you can purchase techniques - the so-called special abilities that are activated when a certain scale is filled during the battle. Finally, in each race, you can customize the "features" of the hero - something like unique perks that are unlocked for completing in-game challenges. Thanks to them, you can charm a little more people, get more health, speed up the pumping of cards, etc. There are several dozen such improvements, techniques, and features.
Looking at the Griftlands from the outside, one is involuntarily surprised. A bold experiment of indie developers turned out to be successful on almost all fronts: the plot, humorous dialogues, diverse and memorable characters, pleasant soundtrack and no less pleasant design, a minimum of bugs and no crashes, an impressive number of working mechanics. And all this for an adequate price tag.
 To find at least some cons of the game, you need to seriously dig. And those, for the most part, look like nit-picking: one could add more different endings for the campaign; to make descriptions of unique card effects more understandable ... That's all, perhaps. Griftlands is another indie that did it. However, in the case of the Klei studio, this is no longer an exception, but rather a rule.
  Pleased
Overview of the Griftlands.  Card roguelike close to ideal
  • A competent combination of mechanics from different genres;
  • Several completely different campaigns;
  • Light and sometimes subtle humor;
  • Lore, with whom it is interesting and convenient to get acquainted;
  • A reputation system that has a significant impact on the gameplay.
  Upset
Overview of the Griftlands.  Card roguelike close to ideal
  • There could have been more endings.
  How we played
In what: The key is provided by the publisher.
What: PC.
How much: 20 hours.
  Achievement of the editorial office
Overview of the Griftlands.  Card roguelike close to ideal
"Iron Argument"
In a conflict with a gang in a local bar, convince the thugs to throw the leader ... Because he does not brush his teeth.
  About localization
Not the whole game has been translated (they promise to finish with Russification shortly), but the part of the dialogues that has already been completed is perfectly adapted to modern Russian realities. In Khavaria, every now and then they ask “not to rock the boat”, admire “dump your head!”, Philosophize “who feeds a girl, he dances”.
Overview of the Griftlands.  Card roguelike close to ideal

Verdict
This little indie adventure is striking in the quality of the elaboration of many complex mechanics, which is not always found even in large-budget AAA games. Thanks to a skillful mix of genres and flexible difficulty settings, both hardcore players and those who will launch the game just to relax will be able to enjoy Griftlands.


 

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